First, lest I be left out, let me tell you that Lightroom 1.1 is available as a free download to anyone who already has a copy of Lightroom 1.0. More importantly, you’ll be very glad you downloaded and installed it. There are lots of very helpful new features, but most of all, the app is really fast. You hardly waste any time at all watching the image come to full resolution when you magnify to 100% and the thumbnails load significantly faster. I still have considerable studying to do to see what all the new features do. Most importantly, they don’t make the interface you’re used to seem unfamiliar or awkward.
The Lightroom 1.1 distraction aside, back to the topic and hand: One guy’s scheme for ranking and grouping images. Although the only rule that really counts in art and photography is that rules are made to be broken (otherwise, everyone’s pix would be the same), most of the time it pays to pay attention to the rules. Otherwise, you’re a lot more likely to just make a mess. So here are some suggestions I’ve come up with. I print these out and follow them each time I download a card. If I find something that doesn’t work or something that works better, I make a note, and test it for a while. When I feel pretty secure that the change is going to work most of the time, I type it permanently into the list, re-print it, and go on from there.
If you have your own list and don’t mind sharing it, I’d love for you to email it to me at Ken.Milburn@Gmail.com. Maybe we’ll eventually get to something even closer to a perfect list.
I opened with the opening paragraph in order to give you some perspective on my rules about rule for grouping and ranking my photos in Lightroom.
1. If I’m working with images that might already be ranked or flagged in a new collection, I select the entire Library or Collection and then choose Photo > Set Ration to None. I will also do the same for the Color Label if I think I might want to re-assign colors later. Sometimes, however, I know that I’ve assigned colors to categories that won’t change just because this is a new collection. Of course, if this is a brand-new download, you can skip this step.
2. As I’m going through the original download or a new collection, I give every image that I think might be working on, for whatever reason, 1 star.
3. Now set the Filters = to one star. Only your picks will show up. I usually just start working on these from the top. If, as I work, I decide for any reason that this shot is never going to make it or just isn’t worth whatever it’s going to take to fix it, I simply remove the star(s).
4. I then set the Filters to No Stars. All the rejects appear. I just Select All and hit the delete key. You’ll be amazed at how much time and disk space you save. In fact, I highly recommend taking these first two steps on all your catalogues. If you have too many to do them all at once, do as many at a time as possible and keep a list of those you’ve done. I cut and paste their names into a text document and then print it out so I can keep it right by my monitor…then just keep adding to it as I move along. If you don’t really want to delete all those files, export them to a “delete” folder. Then copy the contents of the delete folder to a DVD until it’s full, burn it, and delete those you’ve burned. Then just file them someplace on the very remote chance that someday you’ll want to find something in there.
5. Rank everything that you’re done with manipulating and editing and want to include in your final collection…for whatever reason…with 5 stars.
6. If you have different sub-sets of photos for the same subject collection or folder, give each of those sub-sets a color flag. Put the category name you’ve assigned to that color on this list and be sure to keep using the same list for as long as you can. Be sure to assign the names for colors to broad categories that will span any types of subject matter you assign them to. For instance: Feature or full page, Macro, Detail, Vista, Stock. Then you can instantly pull up a subset collection by showing only one color flag, regardless of the ranking of the images. So you can go through them and see if there are any in each category that deserve 5 stars.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Any suggestions?